The University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering, Master Plan and Energy Engineering Building Formation Study
This strategic master plan evaluates the Cockrell School's possible building sites to determine the optimal way for the Cockrell School to achieve the target growth, with a subset of those sites selected for inclusion into phasing scenarios.
On the heels of the design of the Engineering, Education, and Research Center (EERC) at the Cockrell School (which opened in 2017), the Ennead design team conducted a thorough update of the Cockrell School’s Master Plan. This update factored in new realities brought about by the EERC and by political decisions made by the University, requiring wholesale reassessment of growth needs. The master plan established new growth targets for the Cockrell School and proposed a re-balancing of research and teaching programs over time. The process included the evaluation of some twelve building sites to determine how to optimize growth opportunities while improving the precinct.
Eight sites were ultimately considered in the master plan update. Each site was vetted for program fit, access to infrastructure, desired location, and other factors. The project team ultimately focused on sites B, F, and C. Together, these three sites would enable the fulfillment of the growth requirements outlined in the Master Plan. Several four-step phasing options were evaluated, carefully considering time, potential cost, demolition and swing space requirements, as well as qualitative factors.
The Cockrell School determined that its next project would be a new multidisciplinary teaching and research building focused on energy engineering, and the planning team conducted a formation study for this building concurrent with the completion of the master plan. Although not a preferred site overall, “Site F” was the only site that did not require the use of swing space and was thus initially the target of the study, which included a preliminary program, stacking and massing, circulation analysis, diagrams to evaluate theoretical building mass in context, and some speculative visualization.
Subsequent to the completion of the formation study, the opportunity arose to develop the much preferred “Site B” as the location for the new “Energy Engineering Building.” The planning team readily adapted the initial Formation Study’s sound planning principals to the new site, and re-analyzed the project for its new location just south of the EERC.
The Gary L. Thomas Energy Engineering Building (GLT), an 184,000 SF lab-intensive multidisciplinary building focused on energy-related research, represents the next phase in the Cockrell School’s Master Plan, and was approved to proceed into design in 2017. The project is exemplary of the Cockrell School’s transition away from departmental silos toward an interdisciplinary and thematic approach to research and teaching. GLT opened its doors in 2022.
- Austin, TX
- 2,303,000 GSF
- Teaching and Research Labs, Faculty and Grad Student Office Space, Administrative Offices, Classrooms, Collaborative and Public Space, Assessment of College-wide Growth Needs, Site Analysis and Selection, Phasing